The administration announced expansion of the controversial travel ban to include six more countries, following an almost year-long review by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).  Restrictions on entering the United States will apply to certain travelers and migrants from Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, as well as Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan, and Tanzania, , according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official.  The ban is expected to go into effect in 21 days.

The updated policy would not completely ban all citizens of those countries from coming to the United States, but instead would limit access to certain kinds of visas. Unlike the original travel ban in early 2017, most of the countries added do not have Muslim-majority populations.

Under the proposed ban, most immigrant visas (for those who seek to live in the United States permanently) will be suspended for Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Nigeria. Access to the diversity lottery program that grants visas to prospective immigrants randomly each year will be limited for Sudan and Tanzania.

Reports indicate that travelers en route to the United States will not be denied entry, and those who already have visas or permanent residency (“green cards”) will not be impacted by the new restrictions. Refugees, students, and temporary workers with nonimmigrant visas also will still be able to travel to the United States after the restrictions go into place.

This travel ban stems from a series of executive actions enacted by President Trump since 2017.  Travel Ban 1.0, Executive Order 13769, placed stringent restrictions on travel to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  Following legal challenges, Travel Ban 2.0, Executive Order 13780, amended certain provisions of the first order, and removed Iraq from the list. Travel Ban 3.0, issued via Presidential Proclamation 9645 on September 24, 2017, added restrictions on Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, and removed Sudan.

Mayer Brown’s coverage of developments regarding the travel ban may be found on our website.